Chicago Paws Dog Training Blog

Covers positive reinforcement dog training strategies and tips. Jeff strongly believes that positive reinforcement training is the only option and he is a vocal critic of other methods. You can also find product and book reviews and clicker training tips.

You should use a crate for your puppy

Crates should not be such a tough sell. Puppies have sharp teeth, develop strong jaws, are curious, get bored easily, like to chew, are not housetrained, and can develop separation anxiety . . . . for starters. 

An easy, humane, and time-tested strategy for preventing (hopefully) problems with this little furball is to use a crate. Why is it so hard for some people to buy in to?

I write for multiple websites and have dog training videos on YouTube discussing crate training among other things. I am a firm believer in using crates for puppies. 

Some of the scathing comments I have received for using this widely used, humane tool:

Spertrun 
"First Thing you need to do its take him out of that cage i hate when people put dogs in Cages i hope they put you."

Even with the bad grammar, you can tell Spertun wasn't sold on my advice.

Jonathan had another thought on the subject. Interesting how people that supposedly care about the welfare of dogs speak of violence:

Jonathan Hunt 
"If you cant watch your dog and get up during the night to let him out you dont need a dog. People who crate dogs should be beat in the head."

I have clients over the years that simply refuse to use a crate. I take a deep breath, and ask them to walk me through their strategy for keeping their puppy safe, their house safe and how they plan to efficiently house train their dog. 

Sometimes people will discuss putting their dogs in an exercise pen instead of a crate. That is simply a bigger version of a crate and will make housetraining take longer. If a puppy can go potty throughout the day, then his bladder does not get conditioned to hold it as effectively, and there is no motivation to hold it either. 

I have no problem with people wanting to use exercise pens exclusively. If someone doesn't have access to, or financial ability to pay for dog walkers while they are at work, I understand. 

But, if someone doesn't want to use a crate or a pen and then complains about their dog having accidents and destroying the house, that is a problem. Destruction can also occur if someone doesn't use a crate or pen when they are home. 

Thankfully, it doesn't happen very often. I do, however, get a lot of questions about whether it is "mean" to use a crate. 

A common comment is from someone who works all day and feels bad that their puppy is in the crate for part of the time they are home. The key point to keep in mind is that if your puppy doesn't get used to being in the crate when you are home, what is he going to be like when you are out of the house?

Often my separation anxiety cases will insist their dog doesn't bark in the crate when they are home. But, they don't close the door when they are home. The dog "willingly" goes in there, but if the door isn't closed, then he is not learning to be in the crate, he is simply finding another area to take a nap. It is important that your puppy learns that he can't have access to everything he wants throughout the day. Learning how to deal with this frustration is a big part of separation anxiety prevention. 

Also, another reason for using the crate when you are home is simply to get a break from your puppy. Puppies are like toddlers on steroids. Toddlers crawl, puppies jump. Toddlers cry, puppies bark. Toddlers throw things, puppies destroy furniture and chew electric cords. 

I literally have seen about a dozen clients cry over the years when I walk through the door. Puppies can be incredibly challenging and time-consuming. Often those clients do not have a way to get a break from their puppies and their puppy is indeed taking over their entire life. 

Puppies do take a lot of time and there is no denying this. But, using the crate to work on calm, patient behaviors, avoid destruction, get a break from your puppy and housetrain faster is a great way to make it easier.

Don't you think? 

Does your dog have separation anxiety? My Barking and Separation Anxiety EBook can help. 

 

Should you punish an aggressive dog?
Shy puppy now? Aggressive dog later?

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Sunday, 17 December 2017

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